An open letter to our customers, from our founder Meta Auden

“It might be a good idea to grab a coffee, this is a bit on the long side.

Where do I start?

We all find ourselves in unchartered waters right now making it much more difficult to parent a child on the spectrum.

While, in some cases, other families are relishing the freedom and ad hoc nature of each and every day you and I both know that children on the spectrum like routine, they like to know what they are doing at specific times of the day.

I recently shared a post from a headmaster speaking to parents of all children. He said “do not stress yourself out over schoolwork”. He then went on to explain that children will be able to catch up and that we had to remember we were parents, not teachers and reminded us that learning new skills such as baking and drawing were also important.

If, like me, you are a parent of a child on the spectrum I think having a routine of sorts can really help improve everyone’s time during lockdown. For example, for playtime, movie watching, bath time, lunch etc…

More important than all that is to not beat yourself up if you cannot do this, you must remember that being good to yourself if important too and whatever it takes to get through, stick with that.

Many of you will know that I started this business because I have a daughter on the spectrum. Kirsty is 19 now and still has the ability to surprise me now and again. What’s more important is that I value her opinion on everything and when asked she will engage about particular topics. Kirsty was one of the key reasons I started stocking books in the business, she taught me how valuable they can be in helping people on the spectrum communicate with others.

It’s a difficult time for all businesses now and we’re not immune to the challenges Covid-19 has created. It’s forced us to completely change how we operate and how we support you this year.

I’ve had some parents contact me already worried that when the announcement comes for our children to be allowed to go back to school they won’t be ready and won’t have all the things they need such as our autism friendly school shirts and trousers, tieless shoelaces and more.

I am delighted to be able to tell you that we’ve changed our operation to be able to manufacture ourselves as well as buy in from our own suppliers – meaning we will be able to react quickly and efficiently to your needs when they arise.

I’m also starting a pre-ordering system when you are pre-order your school uniforms now with a provisional size and we can confirm the correct sizes when we manufacture or put in our order.

One of the things we’ve done at Spectra Sensory is try to respond to the specific needs of Covid 19. As a result we’ve used our facilities to expand into manufacturing cotton facemasks on a small scale. We’ve already been supplying these to care workers and have donated a number of them as well. We’ve manufactured the masks at cost and will continue to do so as the demand requires.

Whilst we have tried to use our skills and equipment to help in the fight against Covid 19 I think it’s absolutely imperative for me to reiterate that a mask alone will not prevent you from getting Covid. There are many opinions out there about the effectiveness of them but one thing we do know is that for many people wearing a mask offers peace of mind and for others it stops them from touching their face. Whatever your reason for wanting or needing a facemask during this time is, please take a look at our range.

One of the things Covid 19 has taught me is that as parents we often miss some of the things our children are trying to communicate to us. There are a variety of reasons for this – none of which are usually our fault. I learned to listen to Kirsty many years ago and as I’ve said before because of this she has heavily influenced the product lines we bring into Spectra Sensory.

Over the years Kirsty used books and videos she found online to explain and express her feelings, it has always helped us to communicate better. Recently, Kirsty showed me the video below,I hadn’t seen it before. I always knew she had problems with noise, so she’s had ear defenders since she was small and we’ve been stocking them for a while now on the website.

This video really opened my eyes, Kirsty also sent a copy to a family member who used to insist I make her get the bus from school. I never did and after seeing this video, I’m glad I didn’t. 

I cannot express enough how important it is to be patient with your children, especially in times like this. And, if you think ear defenders might be something that could help your child I’m delighted to be able to reduce the price from £10 to £7 during the Covid crisis.

Over the years we’ve been on a roller coaster with this business, there’s been many ups and downs and the challenges have come and gone. We will weather this storm too and we’ll do everything we can to support you through this difficult time.

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank each and every person who has supported us over the years, I am deeply grateful you have entrusted us with helping you support your autistic loved one. If there’s anything else we can do or stock to support you please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.”

Stay safe, Meta x

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